Love backyard chickens? Thinking of taking the plunge and setting up a coop for your own feathered friends? Then check out Novato's second annual Pleasant Valley Coop Tour, taking place on Sunday, September 9, 2012. You'll get to tour some of Marin's swankest avian homes, learn about the art of backyard chicken keeping, the finer points of coop construction, and the rewards of chicken ownership. You'll also be supporting Novato's Pleasant Valley Elementary School and its outdoor education programs, so it's all for a great cause.
Tickets for this self-guided tour and innovative school fundraiser cost $10. You can order them online or in person at Novato Horse and Pet Supply at 7546 Redwood Boulevard.
All that chicken coop touring will make you hungry, so lunch is available to purchase with your ticket, too. Featuring locally organic ingredients and prepared by Novato's White Rose Ranch, box lunches cost $15 for adults and $7.50 for children.
A few weeks ago, we had a fabulous time at the first-ever Farm-to-Table Dinner at Novato's Farm Girl Nursery. The nursery, a labor of love by Novato resident Lisa Marvier, has really taken off as a local resource for fresh produce, seeds, plants, and food education. Our kids even attended one of the nursery's summer camps and had a blast.
The Farm-to-Table Dinner featured five amazing courses prepared by Marin chef Suzanne Griffin, as well as wonderful conversation with some really interesting people. Dinner guests chatted over wine before dinner and toured the beautiful Farm Girl Nursery property, where we even met some goats and horses. Later, we all sat down for dinner outdoors at a rustic table. As the name implies, all the courses, from the opening Caprese salad to the the closing berry tart with a date-and-nut crust, featured ingredients sourced from Farm Girl Nursery's gardens.
While everything was delicious, my favorite course was the green Farm Girl gazpacho served as the second course. It was so fresh and cooling (the dinner was on one of those rare really hot days this summer), and was a wonderful amalgam of different flavors. Chef Suzanne was gracious enough to share the recipe with me, and it follows below, so you too can amaze your dinner guests with something this good!
Novato's Studio 4 Art celebrates its fifth birthday with its annual free art day from 10 am to 1 pm this Saturday, August 25. Come be part of the birthday festivities and create your own original piece of art! Studio 4 Art is located in downtown Novato at 1133 Grant Avenue.
Reserve your spot for the free art day through Studio 4 Art’s Facebook page—state the number of people in your group when reserving your time slot of 10 am, 11 am, or noon. You can choose to create in clay, painting, or illustration.
Studio 4 Art continues to grow and bring new programs to Novato and the surrounding areas of Marin and Sonoma. Last year the studio announced the opening of its second art workspace on the property called the Annex and it has been bustling with activity from workshops, to camps, to birthday parties, and student art shows. Also this past year, programs expanded to include the very popular teen-only art camp and portfolio building class, giving the middle and high school set an opportunity to work with peers in a focused manner to learn and hone in specific art interests and skills.
Just because school begins this week for many in Marin doesn't mean there aren't plenty of fun summer activities to still enjoy. This Saturday, August 25 from 6 to 9:30 pm, take in an outdoor screening of Pixar's classic Finding Nemo and a family dinner at Novato's Rolling Hills Club at their first ever "Dive In" Dinner and Movie.
Participate in fun pool games and enjoy a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, salad, and garlic bread before you settle down to watch the movie on a giant, inflatable, 25-foot screen. The "Dive In" costs just $30 per family for club members and $35 per non-members family, so it's an inexpensive night out, as well as a great way to come see what the club is all about. The price also includes lemonade, and beer or wine for those 21 and over.
Bring your swimsuits, towels, and pool toys (you can even bring floaties and watch the movie from the pool!) as well as sleeping bags, blankets and pillows so you can get comfy on the pool deck. The movie starts at around 7:15 pm, but get there early to get a good spot, enjoy dinner, and participate in the activities.
If you've driven the stretch of Point Reyes–Petaluma Road between Novato and Petaluma lately, you've probably seen the signs for the farm stand in the barn near the entrance to Red Hill Ranch, just north of Novato Boulevard. We decided to check it out the other day and are glad we did!
Pull into the driveway and follow the signs directing you to the farm stand. Owner Kitty Dolcini offers a wide selection of fresh seasonal produce, free-range farm eggs, and grass fed beef at her small stand in on of the ranch's old barns. Much of her produce is grown on the ranch, which leases some of its land to County Line Harvest, a leading local organic producer. Other produce—like summer fruit—comes from quality growers elsewhere in Northern California.
It's still summer vacation for a couple more weeks, so get in your summer activities while you can. Almost everyone loves going to the pool, and one of our favorite Marin public pools is the one in Novato's Hamilton neighborhood.
My kids love Hamilton Pool especially for the shallow kids' pool with its play stucture, water slide, and water sprayers. It's a blast for kids of all ages. There's also a larger more traditional pool for more serious swimming and water play. The remodeled and renovated Hamilton Pool opened in spring of 2010 after a long construction process. We used to go to the old pool, which was left over from the old air force base and dated from the 1930s. The new pool and the surrounding facilities are a real improvement on the somewhat dilapidated old ones. The whole area is clean, modern, well kept up, and definitely worth a visit.
Interested in learning more about Novato's proposed new progressive charter school? This Sunday, July 15, at 4 pm there will be the third in a series of public meetings to inform the community about the school, which will be Marin County’s first Core Knowledge curriculum pre-k through 8th grade public charter school.
The meeting will include an overview of the proposed charter school, a detailed look at the Core Knowledge language arts program, the grade-by-grade curriculum sequence, and an interactive Q&A. North Bay Educational Foundation (NBEF) will also present general charter admissions policies and guidelines, and attendees will have the opportunity to sign a consideration of intent to enroll. In addition, there will be opportunities for interested community members to get involved in bringing this educational opportunity to Novato.
Celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing at the 2012 Novato Space Festival at the Space Station Museum in Pacheco Plaza shopping center. This free event takes place Saturday, July 14 from 10 am to 4 pm at the museum and in Pacheco Plaza's Center Stage.
See artifacts and photographs from the 1969 moon landing; meet legendary astronaut Dan Bursch (who spent 227 days in space on the space shuttle and the International Space Station); sit in a Navy fighter jet cockpit from the USS Hornet Museum; participate in hands-on interactive exhibits from NASA, the Planetary Society, Cosmosphere, and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic; and more!
Kids can also build a snap-together space shuttle module, courtesy of HobbyTown USA, and a join the Space Book Club from Literacy Works.
The Hamilton preschool programs are run by Novato Parks and Recreation and include Pre-K/Tiny Tots, Teeny Tiny Tots and Mommy and Me classes. Programs take place at the Hamilton Community Center. They offer a healthy balance of play and academics to stimulate social, emotional, and educational growth.
The Hamilton programs are taught by California credentialed teachers who have preschool and elementary school experience, and are knowledgeable in Novato Unified School District curriculum and standards and will offer necessary preparation for Kindergarten. We asked the staff to tell us more about the school and its programs and why it might be a great choice for your child.
Please describe your school’s educational philosophy. What’s it all about?
We are a quality program that focuses on social, emotional, and academic development. We provide a safe, loving, warm environment for children to play, learn, laugh, and grow. We believe children learn through their play as well as a small amount of direct instruction. We are